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Airport Master Plan published as business grows on scheduled services

The final version of the Master Plan aimed at securing the long-term future of Durham Tees Valley Airport has been published today. The 180-page document provides the foundation for implementing a wide range of measures aimed at maximising the potential of the whole DTVA site, including broadening the base of aviation-related activities, and re-positioning the airport to focus on business routes serving the needs of the region.

Publication of the finalised Master Plan comes as passenger figures for the past three months show steady increases on the airport’s two key scheduled services to Amsterdam Schiphol and Aberdeen.

Airport Strategic Planning Director Peter Nears says that the Plan takes into account a number of points raised during the two-month consultation process and stresses that it reflects the commitment of Peel Airports to ensuring the future of air services at Durham Tees Valley.

He explains “The impact of the recession has made significant and lasting changes to the air travel industry and the Master Plan sets out how we can establish a viable business model and long-term investment strategy for Durham Tees Valley in the light of those changes.

“The reality is that many major operators, including low-cost carriers, now concentrate their activities at a limited number of airports and Durham Tees Valley is no different from a number of other smaller airports across the country in having to diversify income sources.

“One of the key strengths of Durham Tees Valley is its land holdings north and south of the runway and maximising the return from developing those assets holds the key to securing airport services.

“Of course, people have been concerned for the future following the fall in passenger numbers over recent years but I hope that they will now see that this Plan does set out a path which, with support from our stakeholders, the business community and the public, can lead to a more secure future for Durham Tees Valley. 

“Our task now is to move forward with key elements of the Master Plan and that will be happening in the very near future.

“An encouraging sign that our intention to concentrate on supporting and developing services important to the business community is the right way forward is reflected in the passenger figures on the Amsterdam and Aberdeen services from January to March—with the KLM service to Schiphol up 16 per cent year on year and Eastern Airways to Aberdeen up by 13 per cent.

“As well as serving the needs of the our business community, who increasingly operate in worldwide markets, the Amsterdam service does, of course, provide access to many leisure destinations.

“We are pleased that the importance of the airport to the competiveness and prosperity of the area has been recognised in the Draft Strategic Economic Plan submitted to Government by Tees Valley Unlimited and its partners. Amongst its specific ‘asks’ of Government are a number of measures relevant to the airport, including the introduction of differential rates of Air Passenger Duty and the introduction of ring-fenced slots for regional flights at London airports.” 

Key proposals in the Master Plan include:

*New developments on the north and south sides of the Airport runway to establish DTVA as a leader in aviation related business.  This will build on existing activity at the Airport in, for example, aircraft engineering, dismantling and recycling and lead to the creation of a multi-modal logistics centre -including air cargo and road connectivity - to maximise the employment potential of the Airport’s landholding.

* Northside development proposals include a mixture of offices and residential (250/400 dwellings), with associated community facilities and an extension to the on-site St George’s Hotel.

*Development proposals on the Southside, which would be accessed by a new link road, comprise a logistics and business park, engine testing facility and additional aviation support facilities, including a new apron and associated hangars.

Delivery of the Master Plan, which will be phased to 2020 and beyond, is aimed at creating up to 3,800 new jobs, plus a further 450  full time equivalent jobs during construction phases, and add over £348 million GVA (Gross Value Added) to the regional economy.  It will help secure existing routes to international markets with the potential to develop new routes to other UK and European destinations.  Passenger numbers are forecast to grow to 200,000 per annum by 2020 in line with Government forecasts from the figure of 165,000 passengers handled in 2012—but the Plan safeguards the potential for further growth in the future, with the possibility of handling up to 900,000.

Stephen Catchpole, managing director at Tees Valley Unlimited, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Tees Valley, said “We welcome the publication of the final version of the Master Plan aimed at securing the long-term future of Durham Tees Valley Airport.

“Our plans have always emphasised the importance of the business links to key destinations for the benefit of the Tees Valley economy.”

The finalised Master Plan can be viewed on-line at www.DTVA-Master-Plan.co.uk.